Tag Archives: Putin

Former Brentford ‘keeper has the balls that FIFA lack. Well said Szczesny (and Poland).

28 Feb

Monday morning. The weekend has seen Brentford go down at home to Newcastle United, keeper Kepa take the worst penalty since Yoann Barbet found low-earth orbit against Norwich City and Leeds United parting company with Marcelo Bielsa. Yet it was dominated by FIFA proving themselves as spineless as ever when it comes to Russia. The ongoing and barbaric atrocities being committed by Putin and his lackies in the Ukraine have resulted in global condemnation, ejection from everything as far afield as the Eurovision song contest to hosting their own Grand Prix (and anything in between) whilst the footballing community have made their own feelings very clear.  Wojciech Szczesny and Poland leading the charge and refusing to play Russia next month. 

We’ve always loved the player, affectionally known as Chesney, at Brentford after his 25 game stint in 2009/10. It seems like five minutes ago he was pulling out all the stops, game after game. Ripping up tress in goal and performing last line of defence heroics that haven’t been matched until, well, probably David Raya. Now, he’s up on the global stage making his feelings (and those of his countrymen) known loud and clear.

Speaking to the DAZN Sports streaming service, Szczesny was unequivocable with his thoughts:

“We won’t play against Russia at the World Cup, that’s for sure. Let’s see if FIFA will have balls to give Russia the World Cup by forfeit – I don’t think so”.

“I refuse to stand on the pitch, wearing the colours of my country and listen to the national anthem of Russia! I refuse to take part in a sporting even that legitimases the actions of the Russian government.”

Well said, that man. With Sweden and the Czech Republic joining the Poles in their decision, FIFA have finally flinched. There has been no kicking the Russian team out. Instead, a typically half-arsed measure of still allowing them to compete but on neutral ground under the name Football Union of Russia (RFU). No flags , no anthems, no flags. But still playing. 

President of the Polish FA, Cezary Kulesza, was as forthright as Szcezny on hearing this news. He called it “Totally unacceptable” with, incase anybody was in any doubt, the commitment that.. “We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish national team will not play with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is.“

Look. I get its not the fault of the Russian players or Russian people. Robert Lewandowski was amongst those also recognising that side. At the same time, giving a government and a dictator who thrives on his own ego, on global recognition and some misplaced macho bullshit where the world order is still rooted in the 18th century any credibility or attention, no matter how watered down it may be, is a complete and utter NO. It was an open goal and FIFA have missed. Missed it worse than Diana Ross taking a penalty.

The world looks on at a c*nt

Instead, they’re now in a situation where Gianni Infantino still sleeps with the Order of Friendship medal given to him by Vladimir Putin under his pillow. Where the head of FIFA has acted with all the speed of a turning oil tanker in swerving questions before, finally, finally coming out with this nonsensical watered down rubbish. Nobody is going to play against Russia in the current circumstances. The World Cup, already under huge scrutiny given the controversy of Qatar, could become an even bigger farce than it is already looking like turning in to. And rightly so.

The World is burning at the moment. Football had a chance to draw a line in the sand. To show strong leadership. To show support  – primarily for Ukraine but also its other members. The football community has come out and made their feelings quite clear. Even in the symbolic gestures from supporters waving banners, flags and going to games in yellow and blue. From players openly saying they refuse to participate in the charade. 

The game’s leadership, anything but. It makes me sick. F*ck Ras-Putin. F*ck FIFA. Our beautiful game is currently being made to look very ugly at the top level.

Anyway, that’s just me. For what it’s worth. Trying to bring up a young child to know the difference between right and wrong or explain what the heck is going on in the world at present isn’t an easy job. I get sleepless nights over where this could end up but, at least, I still have my principles. It’s a shame others don’t. Oh well, enjoy that medal Gianni.

I was going to talk about the League cup, about Leeds United , about Newcastle and about Brentford going to Norwich City but really can’t be bothered with any more. This stuff is written on the hoof. Made up as it goes along and having done so, I’m over football for now.  A relief for everyone. If you really want to then you can get the player / performance review from the Bees – Magpies game, here

I’m downing tools for a few days.

Be good.

enjoy that medal

Nick Bruzon

Get set for more penalties, more pressure, more shocks and more swaps…..

2 Jul

Another day, another two teams reached the World Cup quarter-finals. Sunday’s action saw Russia and Croatia get through on penalties at the expense of Spain and Denmark respectively. With it, the end of the Griffin Park World Cup dream as Henrik Dalsgaard of  Brentford ™ was left to taste that cruelest of footballing pain. And we have a winner in the Last Word shirt competition.

What can you say about the action yesterday? Well, perhaps action would be a tad generous for two games that finished 1-1 and didn’t have anywhere near the excitement of the previous day’s clashes. Then again, the absolute pivotal criteria is to secure qualification and I can’t imagine anyone in the Russia or Croatia camps losing any sleep over their team’s performance.

Who cares if they went to penalties? For the neutral, perhaps one of the most exciting ways to see a game decided. The ultimate battle of nerves and ability over pressure. Yet it would be fair to say that in both games the result could have been decided by a spot kick late into extra time.

The Russia – Spain encounter saw Sergio Ramos felled in the box late on. Without wanting to sound all Arsene Wenger, “I didn’t see the incident”. This for no more reason than I was jacked up to the eyeballs on Panini stickers. A hedonistic stash that was something akin to the Last Days of Pompeii – Ned Flanders style – was making its way around The Griffin in a coming together of about 8 separate sticker books.

Panini stickers The Griffin

In the end it all got too much. The stickers rather than the football. I couldn’t focus on the ‘needs’ list . Sorry, I mean Harry’s ‘needs’ list. A sea of numbers and garish kits flashing before my eyes. It was all a blur with mountains of Panini everywhere (the stickers rather than the toasted sandwiches – Gerhard isn’t diversifying that much) .

Imagine that scene at the end of Scarface – except with the drugs replaced by a stash of Lucas Biglia, Danny Wellbeck, Lasse Schöne et al. The plus point of all this is that we’re down to our last 27 ‘needs’. If anybody can help then here’s the list.

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27 to go. Can anyone help? 577 since acquired

But we digress. A lot. Having missed the Ramos incident it was time to steel myself for penalties. And what a set of spot kicks. How the Russians held their nerve. How Spain lost theirs. Big time. I’d not seen that much stuttering on the run ups since Norman Collier picked up a microphone. Yet with the Spanish doing their best to hit them straight down the corridor of saveability, the host nation triumphed. And boy, how they celebrated.

Probably not as much as the VAR team whose relatives were subsequently released from whichever holding cell that Mr. Putin had them in. Cancel the trip to the salt mine. Hey, as noted I didn’t even see it live but having caught up since, I’m not upset anyway. If Vladimir is reading (let’s not even go there) yours truly has backed the hosts at 40/1 to win the thing. Purely for research purposes and a wager that can happily slide down the pan if it ultimately means an England triumph.

With Russia through it was the turn of Denmark and Henrik Dalsgaard of Brentford ™ . They couldn’t have got off to a better start, scoring with less than a minute on the clock. They couldn’t have had a worse reaction – conceding just three minutes later. Yet that’s how things stayed. Pushing on through to full time and then beyond, another penalty shoot-out was as much a certainty as Brentford losing a play-off final. But then drama. With just three minutes left, Luka Modric was given the chance – quite rightly in this instance – to score from the penalty spot. Instead, Kasper Schmeichel dived to his left and smothered the ball, leaving the match alive and another shoot out beckoning.

It really was a wonderful moment in an otherwise dungheap of a game. Football as cagey as you could ever expect to see between two evenly matched  teams that nullified each other in the attempt to haul themselves over the line. Yet with the prize on offer, who could blame them for playing to go through?

This time it was Danijel Subasic, the Croatian goalkeeper, who was the hero. Schmeichel may have saved a further two penalties in the shootout but his counterpart stopped three to leave his team mates celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup. Somebody really should use that one.

All over TW8 there were tears for Henrik Dalsgaard. He played the full game, again, and can leave the tournament with his head held high. Both he and Brentford have only come out of this with our respective stocks rising further. Whatever else happens in Russia, Henrik can be sure of a hero’s welcome when he comes back to Griffin Park.  I can already hear Peter Gilham loosening his vocal cords.

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For now Henrik, the World Cup is over. Roll on Qatar…

As for today, Brazil – Mexico promises to be an absolute cracker, followed by Belgium – Japan. Whilst the bookies would have you believe that these are foregone conclusions for the ‘B’ teams, I wouldn’t bet on it. Get set for more penalties. Get set for more pressure. Get set for more shocks…..

And finally, congratulations to SteveFoxBee (aka @TheDoomBoy) on Twitter who won our Last Word e-book lucky shirt draw. You can see the moment further below.

For now though, the books both remain on line for download with any funds raised continuing to go to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust:

Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself how it all began…

Thank you.

Nick Bruzon